The move is over and little did we know how much snow was possible in the South. Thankfully, we kept the winter gear to visit family in New York. But now it’s here, we need to have some fun.
Don’t Have a Sled? No Problem!
Many of us don’t have a sled taking up space in our non-basement houses or apartments. Fear not! Instead of trying to find a store that has one, transform what you already have.
Use your beach and pool gear to ride the hills. Blow up plastic rafts, alligators, Boogie Boards, and even a hard shell (or blow-up) kiddie pool can offer a quick fix when a sled isn’t available.
In NY, we used our blow up, glow-in-the-dark chairs on big hills at night. They provided a cushion to the often unexpected rugged terrain and when “charged” correctly under a lamp, provided visibility. If you have a fabric-coated beach raft, just add a large garbage bag and you’ll be slipping and sliding ASAP.
I wish I could say this was my idea, but a friend mentioned she saw kids riding cookie sheets. Those large ones would work pretty good for a single, small child. Think of them as smaller saucer sleds. To make them really take off, I bet you can use the techniques from Living Strong to make them glide faster.
Cardboard sleds can be made from leftover pizza boxes, refrigerator boxes, or even a leftover school project made on foam board. To lengthen your use time, cover the cardboard (multiple sheets stacked are best, but not necessary), with a large garbage bag or plastic from gardening/window insulation. Take duct tape and secure it together.
If you lack cardboard, beach toys, or large cookie sheets, all is not lost. Big pieces of plastic used in gardening or insulation can be used on their own in a bind. Just sit on them and roll the front up like one of those plastic roll-up sleds. But be prepared to feel every bump.
Warning to Newbies About Sledding
People who are not seasoned snow daredevils need to heed these words: Getting hurt while sledding is easier than you think. Even with real sleds. If you’re unfamiliar with the terrain of the hill (rocks/holes hide easily under snow) or are not gauging the speed of your descent, you may find yourself seriously injured. This is not to scare people off of the idea of sledding, but just a fair warning to use any sled with caution. Especially when you don’t know how your sled will react to the snow conditions(yes, it varies).
The first few trips should be taken on a small hill. Jump or roll off your sled if you see a head-on collision about to occur with things such as trees or people. I’ve seen a few accidents over the years that necessitated a call to 911. With that being said: Be safe, dress warm, have fun, and don’t forget cups and a Thermos of hot chocolate!
Looking for other solutions for sleds? Check out Bob Vila’s DIY Sled Making.